Image: Hockey India
Talented midfielder of the Indian women's hockey team Salima Tete revealed that a podium finish was the only target that the team had at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after a disastrous World Cup campaign earlier this year.
The Indian women's hockey claimed a bronze medal in Birmingham after beating New Zealand 2-1 in the penalty shootout.
However, at the World Cup held in Spain and the Netherlands earlier this year which preceded the CWG, India finished a disappointing ninth.
"After we had a bad campaign at the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup Spain and Netherlands 2022, the team's aim and our focus were very clear. We wanted to do well at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, there was no other option," she said in the 'Hockey Te Charcha' programme.
"We were sure we had to get a medal before returning back to India. Kuch na kuch karna hi hai (Needed to do something)," she added. At 20, Salima is one of the youngest members of the Indian women's hockey team. Although still new in the set-up, she credits the sport for changing her life.
"Playing for India has really changed my life a lot, it has given me everything I could have asked for. I just want to keep performing for the country and win more matches," Salima noted. Salima added that she idolises former India captain Asunta Lakra and Nikki Pradhan, both of whom have been mentors to her.
"I came to hockey through the junior nationals and I had a role model in Asunta Lakra. I wanted to become like her when I saw her playing. I felt that if she can do it, so can I.
"Nikki Pradhan is a very important figure in my development and has always had enough time for me. My family too is very supportive and they don’t think of the difficulties, my family, my parents and siblings are very supportive," she said.
Salima also revealed that interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the team's return from Birmingham turned out to be very motivating.
"Meeting the PM was a very big thing for someone like me. All of us meeting the PM is a source of motivation. It is a motivation for us to keep working hard and achieve good results."
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